Poldark series four likely to air in early summer 2018

New series promises a great new villain and real-life characters from C18th London politics, says writer Debbie Horsfield

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Poldark series three is over – but what of series four?

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The signs are that the next run will, like series three, air in the early summer of next year, RadioTimes.com can reveal.

Filming on series four is due to begin in September and BBC sources suggest that executives were so pleased with its performance for series three – where ratings averaged around 5m viewers in the overnights – that they plan to repeat the summer scheduling experiment next year.

Scriptwriter Debbie Horsfield told RadioTimes.com: “I think it has held its own over the summer and so I am guessing that – and it is a guess – that there’s no reason to change that.

“The thing about the English weather is it’s so terrible and it’s still raining outside anyway so people stay in to watch TV. Everyone’s pleased with the viewing figures and so many people are watching.

“We start filming in September so we have the freedom to air it in the summer but we have no idea yet.”

A BBC source added: “We fully expect series four to air in early summer again.”

Poldark traditionally aired in autumn but series three was switched to air earlier this year in what has been widely interpreted as a bid to avoid clashing with ITV’s period series Victoria, which is made by the same production company Mammoth Screen.

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But what will happen in series four of Poldark?

Horsfield says it will draw on the final third of Winston Graham’s sixth Poldark book The Four Swans and all of book seven, The Angry Tide.

The action of series four will run until the Christmas period of 1799. The next book – The Stranger from the Sea, which is the eighth in the series of 12 – starts in 1810, a leap of more than ten years. This will be the start of series five, which RadioTimes.com revealed is expected to be the final series of the show.

Series four will find Aidan Tuner’s Ross Poldark in Westminster.

According to Horsfield, “He does take George’s seat. He beats George. At the end of this series we see him coming to the realisation that next time a seat is offered he has to take it.

“He’s not desperate to head off to Westminster but a catastrophic happening in episode one of series four makes him realise that in order to have the power to effect any change he needs to get out of his comfort zone.”

Horsfield added that the change of scene will be a “treat” for viewers.

“It’s very much Cornwall-based but there are so many characters and flavours and one of those flavours is London.

“That’s a thing we haven’t really seen. We saw it when Caroline was in London. There are whole sequences where we go to London and that’s a really exciting new flavour to it. We will meet real characters, like [Prime Minister] William Pitt and [anti-slavery campaigner] William Wilberforce. There are some wonderful affirming storylines and some utterly tragic ones coming up.”

She added that Ross and Demelza strive to “work through this sticky patch” following her infidelity with Hugh Armitage at the end of series three.

“What we explore in the fourth series, essentially, is her reasons for this little excursion, shall we say, are many and complex.

“I have often thought in a way it was the perfect storm of Hugh being an opportunist, playing on her sympathies, Ross being occupied elsewhere, Demelza sort of in a way enjoying being wooed and courted in a way which she hadn’t been in the early stages by Ross because she obviously went from being his servant to his wife.”

She added that “things look up for Morwenna and Drake gradually” and that Prudie’s common-law husband Jud Paynter (Phil Davis) won’t be seen in series four.

Tholly Tregirls, the colourful piratical figure from Ross’ youth played by Sean Gilder, will be returning in series four, as will Prudie (Beatie Edney), repulsive cleric Osborne Whitworth (Christian Brassington) and Hugh Armitage (Josh Whitehouse). Could the latter be out to cause yet more trouble for Ross and Demelza?

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There will also be another fabulous new villain called Monk Adderley, adds Horsfield.

“I think the character people will enjoy most is Monk Adderley. He’s completely amoral but such a vividly drawn character. Ross encounters him in London. Ross really does clash with him. He’s a friend of George’s, that’s how they first meet and another one everyone will love to hate.”

I for one can’t wait….

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